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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On July 8, 2004, Shane Greene sat down next to Alice Gutierrez at a bus stop. Greene demanded Gutierrez give him her cell phone and money. Gutierrez refused to comply with Greene’s demands and immediately went to a nearby drugstore to report Greene to the authorities. Authorities apprehended Greene, and Gutierrez identified Greene as her assailant. Greene was subsequently arrested and charged with robbery. Greene was granted a sanity examination and an examination concerning his competency to stand trial. The expert who examined Greene determined he was both sane and competent to stand trial. Greene stated he disagreed with the expert’s opinion on competency and requested a jury trial on the issue of competency. He also requested a second opinion on the issue of competency, but the trial court denied Greene’s request. Although the trial court granted Greene’s request for a jury trial on the competency issue, defense counsel later withdrew the request for a jury trial because he did not believe there were grounds to support a claim of incompetency. Defense counsel noted that he waived the issue of Greene’s competency. The court therefore proceeded to trial without making a determination as to Greene’s competency. At trial, Gutierrez testified she was on her way to an appointment when she saw Greene pacing back and forth across the street from the bus stop. Greene crossed the street and sat down beside her. Gutierrez described Greene as looking jittery, anxious and “very strange.” She further stated Greene “stood out, acting weird.” Officer Roberto Valle III, of the San Antonio Police Department, also testified during the state’s case-in-chief. Valle learned from Gutierrez that Greene boarded a bus going to Ingram Park Mall. Valle noted that when Greene was arrested, Greene was “rambling and he wasn’t making much sense.” Lastly, Greene testified in his own defense. Greene stated that he suffers from schizophrenia and was on medication for his condition. He further testified that he has been institutionalized for his condition on several occasions in the past, including recently when he was hearing voices and having a vision that he had a twin who would not leave him alone. In his testimony, Greene made rambling remarks on a variety of subjects. Greene stated the police finally captured him by shooting him in the back with a “marker gun.” Greene testified he had red dye on his back and there was a hole in his back at the location where he was shot. Greene explained, “I don’t know [if I was shot with a gun]. I had got x-rays and part of my spine is chipped off, it’s just a little piece and there is a hole they can see where I got hit. And I was drinking these protein shakes, those weight gainers, so my upper torso was pretty solid. So if it was a rubber bullet it didn’t penetrate me.” Greene also claimed that the police tried to put him in some type of “armor suit” after his arrest. Before the close of the evidence, defense counsel asked the trial court to take judicial notice of the fact that Greene was examined before trial by a medical expert who had determined Greene to be both sane and competent to stand trial. The court acknowledged defense counsel’s request, and did not make any determination as to Greene’s competency to stand trial. The jury subsequently found Greene guilty of the charged offense. Greene claimed the trial court abused its discretion and violated his right to due process by failing to sua sponte conduct an informal inquiry into his competency during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. Greene argued that evidence suggesting he may have been incompetent came to the court’s attention throughout the underlying proceeding. HOLDING:Abated and remanded. The court reviewed the trial court’s decision not to conduct a competency inquiry for an abuse of discretion. A defendant is incompetent to stand trial, the court stated, if he does not have: sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding, or a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him. If evidence suggesting the defendant may be incompetent to stand trial comes to the attention of the court, the court stated, a trial court on its own motion shall suggest that the defendant may be incompetent to stand trial. On suggestion that the defendant may be incompetent, the court stated, a trial court shall conduct an informal inquiry into whether there is some evidence from any source that would support a finding that the defendant may be incompetent to stand trial. In this case, the court found that the trial court should have inquired into Greene’s competency during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial, because the court was presented with evidence suggesting that Greene was incompetent to stand trial. The trial court heard Greene make rambling, nonresponsive answers to questions. It also heard Greene provide testimony of the most bizarre quality. Such testimony, the court stated, demonstrates Greene had confused thoughts and was out of touch with reality at the time he testified. Moreover, the court found, the trial court was on notice that Greene was on schizophrenia medication and had a long history of mental illness. Greene’s trial testimony, the court stated, should have alerted the trial court of the possibility that Greene was incompetent to stand trial. The court recognized that Greene’s trial counsel withdrew his pretrial request for a jury trial on the competency issue. Nonetheless, the court noted that the statute places the burden on the trial court to conduct an informal inquiry regarding competency, and notwithstanding trial counsel’s actions, the trial court had before it sufficient evidence suggesting that Greene may be incompetent. Consequently, the court held the trial court abused its discretion by not conducting an informal inquiry into Greene’s competency during trial. OPINION:Stone, J.; Lopez , C.J., and Stone and Duncan, J.J.

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